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Betting: Champions League is finely poised ahead of semi-final second legs

Betting: Champions League is finely poised ahead of semi-final second legs

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The bookmakers are struggling to pick a favourite between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea, while Real Madrid hold a slight advantage over Bayern Munich from the first match

This time last year punters and bookmakers knew, pending a miracle turnaround in the second legs of the Champions League semi-finals, that the world would be watching an all-German final at Wembley Stadium.

In the first legs of last season's competition, Bayern Munich demolished Barcelona 4-0 while four goals from Robert Lewandowsi ensured that Borussia Dortmund had an unassailable 4-1 lead over Real Madrid. This year, however, both ties seem balanced on a knife-edge and that could mean plenty of opportunities for punters who are able to read how the second legs will play out.

Chelsea and Atletico Madrid played out a bore draw at the Estadio Vincente Calderon last week and bet365 cannot split the two sides in terms of qualification for the final. Both sides are priced at 10/11 (1.91) to secure a place at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon on May 24.

With a cagey first leg played out at a modest tempo, punters could be forgiven for expecting a similarly tight affair at Stamford Bridge. bet365 share that notion with under 2.5 goals priced at just 1/2 (1.50) and both teams to score available at 11/10 (2.10). In the correct score market another stalemate can be backed at 5/1 (6.0) in what looks set to be a tense night in London.

Real Madrid hold a 1-0 advantage in the other semi-final, although Carlo Ancelotti's side will be disappointed that they are not further ahead in the tie, having missed several chances after Karim Benzema opened the scoring at the Santiago Bernabeu.

bet365 make Bayern Munich 8/11 (1.73) to win at the Allianz Arena but the Bundesliga champions are outsiders to qualify at 6/5 (2.20) with the same firm. Real Madrid can be backed at 4/6 (1.67) to make the final but they are 15/4 (4.75) outsiders in the match odds market to complete a double over Pep Guardiola's side.

Ancelotti has already stated that he will set his side up to try and score goals in this second leg, rather than defending their slim advantage, so backing Madrid to score twice or more at 7/4 (2.75) could prove an interesting bet for Tuesday's match.

The pressure is on Bayern to try and overturn Madrid's first leg advantage and, while they too look capable of goals - having notched five times in a weekend win over Werder Bremen - their back line still appears suspect enough to consider this bet as a viable option.

The fact remains that Bayern have not kept a clean sheet at home in eight games and, while Pep Guardiola's men will look to dominate possession and create more clear cut chances than the first leg, Madrid have the pace and power to hurt the hosts on the counterattack, especially if Bayern are chasing the game.

Cristiano Ronaldo looked to be firing on all cylinders in Madrid's 4-0 win over Osasuna on Saturday night and 7/4 (2.75) about his side notching twice at the Allianz Arena looks a reasonable bet for Tuesday's second leg.

BET
OF THE
DAY
Real Madrid to score over 1.5 team goals at 7/4 (2.75) with bet365

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Jim Knight is Chief Betting Editor at Goal.com and has been tipping football games since he was old enough to place a bet. He is a Leicester City fan, writer and member of the We Are Going Up Podcast

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